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An Interview With...Senator Angus Merasty

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JUNE/JULY 1980      v10 n6&7 p40  

(Taped May 29th)

I can speak now, eh? Yes. What I am about to say is what I learned from the very man that was there.

At the time of treaty at Carlton, between Queen Victoria's representative, the man that Queen Victoria had chosen, to be the most trustworthy man, to come and make treaties with the Indians in Western Canada.

This man dealt with Indians at that time, with the full authority given to him from Queen Victoria, at Carlton, in Treaty Six. The biggest treaty that was ever signed between the Indian people and the British Crown. It takes in from Manitoba border to the Rocky Mountains in Alberta.

That time there were mostly Crees. They lived right from Manitoba right down to the Rockey Mountains in Alberta. That time the Cree Indians had to pick out their leaders. The two leaders' names were Mistawasis and Atahkakoop, Starblanket. They were known as the rulers of the red race of the Cree Tribe. The people as far as Lac La Ronge to the north is under this Treaty Six.

This is what I know from this man named Moosehunter. He died in 1924. The time after Treaty, when the reserves were chosen by Indians, he went to Sturgeon Lake Indian Reserve, where the Moosehunters came from.

Moosehunter told me, that at the time he was 17 years of age, at the time of the signing of Treaty 6, his father told him to listen, saying, "Son, This is what is going to help you. You are going to sit here all week, every day, and hear everything that is being said between the leaders; our leaders and the Queen's representatives". Moosehunter said that at 9 o'clock each monring, a man called Big Bear, (who wasn't a very big man but that was his name) went around the campsite on horse-back, with his feather hat, and he'd tell Mistawasis and Starblanket, saying, Mistawasis, This is a very rich country - Don't give it away. Get all you can for this land, this very rich land, because you got to think of your grand children of tomorrow."

Everytime Big Bear holler, around this campsite of people the police would all look up and think he was trying to cause trouble, but the interpretor interpreted that he was just talking to Mistawasis and Atahkakoop, "Since you are the leaders of the red race, the picked out leaders, you can request for just two things each. Then the representatives will take these requests to the Queen.

So, one of the two leaders said, "We are willing to surrender or give you this land, but my animals, my fish, my fowl, my ducks, I don't Surrender. I don't give, I don't sell. I want to keep them for the children of tomorrow." And the Queen's representative answered, and said, "No, I didn't come to buy your animals. I came here to buy your land. You can keep them for your own use for as long as the rivers flow and the grass grows. I'll go further than that, I will also give you fish and nets and ammunition so you will be able to feed yourself. That means till the end of time, these promises are to be kept."

The other thing the leaders requested was, "You white man keep your own liquor, I don't want any of that liquor to come in to my reserve. This Fire Water is going to hurt my people."

Another thing that was requested was; "Now I don't want you when fighting the war in other countries, to conscript my men. But when the time comes when we have to fight in this island, then my men and your men will be fighting side by side; together to protect this island." These three things were requested there.

Moosehunter told me, The time came, the last day of the meeting, the Queen's representative got up and made the last farewell speech - "Now, you people have surrendered this land with a shake of hands between you, I can now call you my brother. And since I call you my brother, the Queen that sent me is our mother, and the Queen will protect you when you are in trouble. The things I have promised to you is not from me. As representative of the
Senator Angus Merasty
Senator Angus Merasty
Queen, the Queen had told me, to promise you these things for as long as the rivers flow and the grass grows, and the sun shines from east to the west. One thing I want to tell you is that these two men sitting here, will be your servants, when you need them, they will help you. This man sitting here, that's the Indian agent and this man sitting here, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Them two will be my servants; to represent, to fulfill, the agreements, I made with you. It is just too bad the Queen herself can't be here, but the Queen said `Every agreement you made with the people of Canada will be signed, by my name, because I have sent you there to bring the news right to me and I'll put everything to the constitution of the British Laws'."

"Every agreement that is said will be signed by the Queen and added to the 900 year old British Constitution which was signed by every British Monarchy, and the treaties will be put along side the British Crown at the Tower of London". But he said, "Me, I'll give you two warnings: I'll be bringing from the four corners of the world - different nations to make their livelihood here. I'll be taxing them. I don't have the money now but as this Canada or this island grows, (I guess that means the way it is today - The richest country in the world - Canada) you will have a share of. money that will be collected from these people, which will stand for your education and health, and further more, I'll be helping you from the strength of this money in the Indian reserves. And also the agreements in this treaty which I'm signing with you this day, no man that walks on two legs can break this treaty, in my kingdom, until you Treaty Indian that have signed the treaty with me break your own treaty.

If you think yourself a man and you want to get out of treaty, then, I'll be taxing you like I'll be taxing these people which I want to bring to this island tomorrow. But until that time I will never break the treaty with you. Another thing I want to make you understand is this; this treaty shall be kept between you and I, until such time my flag goes down, which means when I am defeated, and at that time you have to make treaty agreements with another kingdom.

An Interview With...Senator Angus Merasty

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JUNE/JULY 1980      v10 n6&7 p41  
But until I am defeated from the other kingdom, what I said to you, is as long as the rivers flow and the grass grows and as long as the sun shines this treaty will be kept. So I am leaving now, the Queen had said to me everything that you agreed upon with the people of Canada, I will sign and put it into the constitution of the British laws, that will stand as long as the grass grows, the rivers flow, and the sun shines." He didn't use the word forever and I know the reason why that wasn't used.

The best lawyer in Canada called John Diefenbaker, one time said, "treaties that were signed between the British Crown and you people was one of the smartest agreements that was signed not to use the word `forever,' because the word `forever', just stands for the appointed time of 99 years, according to the lawyers and the politicians. He used those words `as long as the grass grows' because of the knowledge through Queen Victoria, The Queen of England, rather than using the words till the end of time.

The Indian people always use `till the end of time' because that's the way the treaties were signed and the end of time is when the grass stops growing.

The young people who read this should understand that they are special people - treaty Indians. And they are not taking hand-out money. The people through the British Nation are paying for this land which Indians were given from the Creator.

The Indian was the first person here, he didn't come here from another part of the world, he was here.

Just like the moose, the buffalo, the fish, the man was here. The same with American continent, you can call it. This man was put here. There is no other way. Other people tried to figure out, where did this man come from? The reason is: An Indian was put here from the Creator.

Through the democratic way, the Queen of England made treaty with us, not only with the shake of hands but they brought their own Bible, (the word of God) to make the treaty more powerful. Our people used the pipe. That's our ceremonies between the two nations of that day. I think I'll stop there, Thank you.